From Stone age rock-art to Modern age street-art, the elephant has remained a popular subject for artists. And for me as well. Today, I’m bringing you the collection of my elephant photos. Get ready to be amazed by this troop of tuskers!
I love my country India with all its limitations. However far my wanderlust may lead me, I’d always return right here and prefer to live here for the rest of my life. Apart from all the lofty things I can tell you about this dear country of mine, there is one, about which I am proud of. It’s the way its culture vibrates in many ways and places, in the middle of all modernity.
Ever since I was a little girl, whenever I’d hear sound of the bell hung on an elephant’s neck, I’d rush outside my home to see that mighty animal walking with all its grandeur. I do that even today. Yes, you can occasionally see an elephant passing amidst the traffic of superfast vehicles on city roads. Though no royals or even Indian army use them for fighting battles anymore, elephants are still prevalent in many cultural and religious ceremonies in India. And so, parks or zoos aren’t the only places where you see them. You see them in weddings, religious functions, social gatherings and so on.
As I just said, I have always been fascinated by elephants. This resulted into me clicking pictures of elephants wherever I’d see them – in person, in paintings, in sculptures, in whichever forms they might be. So, presenting you the collection of my elephant photos.
Here’s a cousin of mine with she elephant Lakshmi! He pampers her when she passes with her Mahout from his home every Sunday. One day when he was passing by his car somewhere else, he saw her and stopped to caress her. That was when she started snuggling her trunk to his calves. That moment is captured here!
Elephant is the symbol of strength and wisdom. Thus, a pair of giant elephant statue often adorns entrances of temples. Even residential homes have elaborated paintings of elephant decorating their wall near the entrance.
It is interesting to notice different kinds of embellishments on the elephant. Also this particular one has seven trunks. It is Airavat, a mythological white elephant rode by Indra, the king of heaven.
Coming up are two more pairs of elephants showing their reverence in front of two temples situated in south and west India. Even though the architectural styles differ, the elephant symbolisation remains the same. Notice the riders (a couple) in the first picture. Also elephant is the symbol of false pride (ahankar). So, it also indicates that before entering into a temple, one has to keep aside the false pride.
Indian mythology offers vehicles to deities. This is a very interesting concept. Elephant is the vehicle of Vishvakarma (Principal Architect of the Universe). He is the presiding deity of all Vishwakarma (caste), engineers, artisansand architects. Here is one wall painting I found during a visit to an old school, which was very elegantly renovated with wooden furniture.
This is my own mini creation, where I have narrated a socio-religious procession. The painting style is ‘Warli‘ and is chiefly practiced by tribal artists living on the border area of Gujarat and Maharastra.
Elephants and lions play major roles in the outer structure of temple architecture.
Kings…well…they owned these mighty animals and they were depicted either riding horses or elephants in various art forms. Here is a stone inlay work depicting life story of Rishabhadeva, the first Tirthankara of this era.
And here is very interesting sculpture I found in the campus of Ranakpur Jain temple. It was at the root of a pillar depicting a Rajput warrior.
By the way, there almost 120 (sic) names for elephant in Sanskrit. You can check that yourself by clicking on this link to a Sanskrit-English dictionary.
I am quoting two shlokas, which contains 20 names for elephants.
गजो मतङ्गजो हस्ती, वारणोऽनेकपः करी ।
दन्ती स्तम्बेरमः कुम्भी, द्विरदेभमतङ्गमाः ॥
शुण्डालः सामजो नागो, मातङ्गः पुष्करी द्विपः ।
करेणुः सिन्धुरस्तेषु, यन्ता याता निषाद्यपि ॥
gajo mataṅgajo hastī, vāraṇo’nekapaḥ karī ।
dantī stamberamaḥ kumbhī, dviradebhamataṅgamāḥ ॥
śuṇḍālaḥ sāmajo nāgo, mātaṅgaḥ puṣkarī dvipaḥ ।
kareṇuḥ sindhurasteṣu, yantā yātā niṣādyapi ॥
And here comes a merry group of children, who is visibly excited seeing an elephant vising their village. It was a memorable sight seeing the word spread, ‘an elephant has arrived’ and nearly all the children gathering and looking far at horizon. And jumping at the sight of it and shouting, cheering, clapping. They ran after elephant as far as the other end of village. Ah…that scene!
So, there are eighteen pictures of elephants, out of which seventeen are clicked by me! This collection is made in the response of Day 18 Photo Challenge, which is quite a creative idea by the fellow blogger Ms Kathleen Duncan.